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Thread: Innova sit-down vs HQ Sweet 16 or Tiara? is nearby dealer important?

  1. #1
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    Innova sit-down vs HQ Sweet 16 or Tiara? is nearby dealer important?

    I make art quilts using painted canvas layered with fabric/batting/canvas,etc--thick surfaces with different types of thread. I am looking into getting an innova/sweet 16 or Tiara.

    Does anyone have experience w/the innova sit down?

    I liked it when i tried it at a quilt conference, but there is no dealer w/i hours of where I live vs. there are local dealers for the sweet 16 or tiara.

    How good it telephone support? is it sufficient? do you need to take it to be serviced?

    I hear about alot of tension issues w/the sweet 16. i change the type of thread frequently. will this be a problem? is having a nearby local dealer necessary?

    Is there any different between the babylock tiara and the HQ?
    warranty differences?

    I look forward to getting some recommendations!
    Happy Holidays!
    sandra

  2. #2
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I've heard nothing but wonderful comments about Innova support. I don't have a longarm, but have been coveting one for years. I've test driven many and always come back to the Innova for quality for the price and support. That's the machine I'm going for when the time comes!

  3. #3
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    it is always nice to have service, tech support close by- even if you don't need it often-when you do need it it's nice to have. you said you have 'test driven' the Innova....what about the other 2? if there are dealers close by stop in & test drive the others too & ask all of your questions concerning warranties, tension/thread issues, type of sewing you plan to do...then you can make your decision based on personal knowledge & experience. often when you purchase from a local dealer you are entitled to *free* 'owners classes' to learn all the ins & outs of your machine- and with mine I also received 5 years of free cleanings...weigh all of your options before investing- it is an investment
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  4. #4
    Senior Member qwkslver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarogier View Post
    I make art quilts using painted canvas layered with fabric/batting/canvas,etc--thick surfaces with different types of thread. I am looking into getting an innova/sweet 16 or Tiara.

    Does anyone have experience w/the innova sit down?

    I liked it when i tried it at a quilt conference, but there is no dealer w/i hours of where I live vs. there are local dealers for the sweet 16 or tiara.

    How good it telephone support? is it sufficient? do you need to take it to be serviced?

    I hear about alot of tension issues w/the sweet 16. i change the type of thread frequently. will this be a problem? is having a nearby local dealer necessary?

    Is there any different between the babylock tiara and the HQ?
    warranty differences?

    I look forward to getting some recommendations!
    Happy Holidays!
    sandra
    For what it's worth I haven't had a minutes trouble with my Sweet 16 but I don't use any type of thread but King Tut. If you switch between types of thread you will have to fiddle with the tension I think. Other than that though I love mine, it's a tank. I have never had to call technical support for anything.

  5. #5
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    Maybe bring a WIP, or something thick that you work with, into the dealer's shop (if they don't mind) and try a few different threads.
    I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health - Voltaire

  6. #6
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I really do not know the answer on these machine for you, but Viking also has a sit down machine now. I saw it at a local dealer, I did not try it out but you might keep this in mind also. Good luck in your search.

  7. #7
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    I've heard nothing but glowing reports about Innova service. Not necessarily for the sit down, but I wouldn't expect anything different from the same company for a different machine.

    As far as how important it is to have a local dealer depends a lot on you. I feel comfortable with machines, and with phone/e-mail support to do just about anything - so the local dealer was not as big of an issue to me as getting the machine I really wanted. If you are not that comfortable with perhaps making minor repairs with phone/e-mail support then perhaps you should consider the local dealer option.

    HQ Sweet 16 and Baby Lock Tiara are the SAME machine. HQ makes them all, Baby Lock re-badges and sells it under their name. For this reason I've found that *most* of the time you can get a better price on an HQ.

    I'm going to throw another monkey-wrench into the works ... there are other sit down machines out there as well. Not sure if you've explored these. Seems in the last few years all the manufacturers are getting into the sit-down market.

    APQS has a machine called "George" ... one of the wonderful things about APQS is the lifetime warranty.
    http://www.apqs.com/machines/george/

    Nolting has the "Quilting Bee"
    http://www.apqs.com/machines/george/

    And Pennywinkle Ranch has a sitdown called the Sunshine 16. Pennywinkle is a smallish Mom-and-Pop company.
    http://www.sunshine16.com/Freestanding.html
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  8. #8
    Junior Member sandyquilts's Avatar
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    I can't really answer about a sit down machine. I have a Nolting 24" Pro (stand up). Nolting service is prompt and tireless. My dealer is 3hrs away, Nolting Mfg is way far away ......... BUT BUT both are a phone call away or email. I will say Nolting's service is top notch. I really haven't had trouble with my machine (knock on wood).

    I belong to a longarm group that meets at a Gammill dealer. There are lot of different machines represented in the group of 60 members. I did try out their Gammill's sit down .... it was nice.
    Sandy
    http://sandyquilts.blogspot.com

  9. #9
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    I have a sweet 16 which has given me not one bit of trouble. I think those who have trouble with tension are afraid to really crank the top tension - it is not at all like dsm machines and needs to be turned one to one 1/2 times.

    My dealer is about an hour or so away. I hear that HQ has excellent service. My dealer is exclusively an HQ dealer so I got excellent training in how to use it.

    Many companies have gotten on the bandwagon and are now making sit downs. Make sure your dealer knows how to train you and knows how to set them up.

  10. #10
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Ditto ... HQ makes the both the Tiara and S16 ... the only difference on the Tiara being the paint job, and I believe one of the thread guides are reversed. So, I'm sure in most cases you are going to find that the T will be more expensive than the S16, being that you have an extra corporate layer before it gets to you!

    I shopped around for these two last Spring, and my end conclusion was that the S16 was the better option, as I had 1-800 support whereas there was absolutely none for the Babylock Tiara. Of course, that was in Canada ... could be different where you are.

    With the type of quilting you are wanting to do ... be sure to test drive any of your candidate machines with the same sorts of sandwiches that you will be doing. Tension might be an issue as already recognized ... also you might need to find the right size/type of needles to get the results you want.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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  11. #11
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Innova seems to have 24/7 telephone support. As with others, I have seen only glowing reports about their support. Their techs seem to be able to troubleshoot over the phone and talk you through issues step-by-step. There is an Innova group on Yahoo! you might want to join. They are mostly frame quilters, but some may have the sit-down model.

  12. #12
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I have an Innova, but it's on 12 foot frame. I love it! I have used the 24/7 telephone support a few times, and it was wonderful. When you call, you're talking to someone who knows the machine inside out (sometimes to an owner of the company), not to someone who has been lightly trained to answer standard questions. I really can't speak directly to the sit-down machine, but the Innova I have is constructed so that it doesn't need more maintenance than I can give it, which is usually just oiling (only one spot), changing the needle, and cleaning. For my DSM I feel that it's important to have a nearby dealer, and I even have a service policy so I can take the machine in for frequent cleaning and adjustment, but that isn't necessary for the Innova. If I were going to buy a sit-down machine it would be an Innova for sure.

  13. #13
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    Innova would be my choice.having a dealer nearby is not necessary with a quality machine.Their tech support is there 24/7 and very helpful with our learning curve.hands down Innova for me
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

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    why so few innova sit-down owners vs Sweet 16 --at least that i know

    I was concerned that if i have tension issues, wld something in the machine need to be adjusted that i cld not do myself.
    i had heard that innova has 24 hr support.
    there do no seem to be many people who have the sit-down model--especially in comparison to the Sweet 16 so i wondered why.


    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    I have an Innova, but it's on 12 foot frame. I love it! I have used the 24/7 telephone support a few times, and it was wonderful. When you call, you're talking to someone who knows the machine inside out (sometimes to an owner of the company), not to someone who has been lightly trained to answer standard questions. I really can't speak directly to the sit-down machine, but the Innova I have is constructed so that it doesn't need more maintenance than I can give it, which is usually just oiling (only one spot), changing the needle, and cleaning. For my DSM I feel that it's important to have a nearby dealer, and I even have a service policy so I can take the machine in for frequent cleaning and adjustment, but that isn't necessary for the Innova. If I were going to buy a sit-down machine it would be an Innova for sure.

  15. #15
    Senior Member kheliwud's Avatar
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    I have the BL Tiara and love it. I spent a lot of time researching, test-quilting, and thinking about what I wanted before spending this money. While I would love a long-arm on a frame, at this point in my life, I still work full-time and do not have the time it would take for me to become as proficient with that, as I am with my sit-down model. I also love free-motion quilting. So I decided to buy something I could enjoy right-away. I went with the Tiara since my local dealer is one I have experience with and trust.

    And yes, be assured, you will have tension issues since these machines are quite different that home sewing machines. But with You Tube and various message boards, you can learn so much.
    Living a 1/4" from the edge

  16. #16
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    I have an Innova - an 18" frame one - had it for 5 years. You don't need a dealer close to you - there is wonderful 24/7/365 free live tech support just a phone call away. Love the Innova - never a problem with it that isn't my ignorance! And it loves all of the Superior Threads as top threads too. If you want any questions answered about the Innova, I'll be happy to chat with you on the phone about it too! I'm not a dealer, just love my Innova!

  17. #17
    Senior Member madamepurl's Avatar
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    I use all different threads in my Sweet Sixteen and it works like a dream...no issues whatsoever with tension. You can also use any size needle between 12-20 with the Sweet Sixteen. Telephone and email support is stellar from HQ as well. I would stick with a big company that has dealers and support. I would also sign up for several yahoo groups on the machines you are interested in and read the boards they are really informative.
    - Rose

  18. #18
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarogier View Post
    I was concerned that if i have tension issues, wld something in the machine need to be adjusted that i cld not do myself.
    i had heard that innova has 24 hr support.
    there do no seem to be many people who have the sit-down model--especially in comparison to the Sweet 16 so i wondered why.
    The Innova sit-down machine is relatively new (at least in comparison to their frame models), which may be why you're having problems finding someone who has it. Anyone with a longarm of any type will have tension issues from time to time - just as with a DSM - and you will need to learn to adjust the tension - but you can do it yourself, without help from a technician.

  19. #19
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    Innova has a group on yahoo - http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/innovalongarm I agree, join groups that have all the brands you are considering...there you will get the good, the bad and the ugly on the machines from the owners. Read back in the messages for as far back as you can go. I know with Innova there used to be 2 different groups that went into one...and all the old messages are gone. On the Innova group, you can ask questions and get the answers by owners as well as the office manager goes through and reads the messages as well...there have been a few surprised owners who were having a problem and they got a call from tech support to solve their problem. I know of a few ladies who were having issues that got personal visits from tech support - they were an hour or so away and just popped over to fix the issue (even when they were on vacation).

  20. #20
    Super Member jeanharville's Avatar
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    I just looked at the Innova sit down machine on youtube and it sounds like a versatile machine. Do you know how much it costs including the table?
    jean

  21. #21
    QKO
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    8,000, another 1000 for the stich regulator. That's with the big deluxe table I think. I have lust in my heart for that one.

  22. #22
    Super Member jeanharville's Avatar
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    Thanks, QKO. I'm in lust too, but the price is about $3000.00 more than the Sweet 16. However, I think there's more functionality with the Innova. But I think I would keep my DSM for the piecing and other sewing and just spend 5,000 on the S-16. I either don't have enough room or enough money.
    jean

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    new bernina sit-down

    i heard that bernina demonstrated a prototype of its new sit down machine which will come out in 2014. supposedly a 20" harp and easier to thread than the sweet 16 or innova--more like a sewing machine.

    did anyone see it?

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    I have had my BL Tiara for just over a year and have experienced no problems at all. I've learned to not be afraid to adjust the upper tension, depending on which thread or batting I use. I chose the BL over the HQ Sweet 16 based on dealer support. They matched the HQ price, as well. I'd do it over again. Try out all the machines and get a real good feel for the dealer relationship. Good luck with your hunt!

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    I just bought a Tiara and have been putting it through the ringers. Not one problem. Viking's offering sounded too clunky to me and Innova's seem slow. HQ dealer closest to me was beyond rude. I bought the Tiara because of the customer service at the local sewing store where I have been shopping for years. This machine so far has exceeded my expectations.

    I also have mastered binding on this thing. If I can do it so can you.
    Last edited by Misspt; 12-16-2013 at 04:56 PM.

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